By Julie Tangen
Want to strike out on a Google search faster than Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants can fan a batter? Type in “sexy” and various permutations of “software development.” Pretty much nada, right?
I’m here to let you in on a secret: Promoting development companies is not only important (that’s a given) but more exciting and fun than most people realize. And for some uniquely interesting reasons.
I kept coming back to those thoughts as I prepared my talk for the recent Evans Data Developer Relations Conference in Palo Alto, which happened to fall on my 16th anniversary working with software dev companies.
I reflected on why I so love this specialty within the specialty of high-tech PR and came up with five observations:
- Developers are among the most creative people I know. To the uninformed, software development may seem all about solving electronic jigsaw puzzles, but of course it’s much more than that – a heady combination of art and science. Without the imagination of developers, for example, the web as we know it wouldn’t exist for you to read this blog on.
- There’s a swashbuckling quality to the development culture that I love. These coding cowboys and cowgirls are often iconoclasts who play by their own rules, and it’s that freedom that enables them to do great and innovative work for their companies (and, in the end, for all of us in a software-driven world).
- They genuinely find this stuff fun, and that passion is infectious. Take Kiran Bondalapati, who remains an active coder despite his executive responsibilities as co-founder and CTO at Offleash client ZeroStack. He wrote recently in TechCrunch that he doesn’t think of coding as work and will keep doing it even after he retires: “I’ve been coding for 25 years… I plan to still be writing software when I am 70.”
- I’ve been working with many of the same reporters and analysts for nearly two decades. Those who cover development tend to stay with it, so I feel as though we grew up in the industry together. I cherish those relationships (and hope they see me as a valuable resource as well).
- It used to be that software development was dominated by proprietary platforms controlled by large companies. Now, open technologies are providing more opportunities for startups to build original toolsets. And they need to build communities around those offerings. Community building is so challenging and fascinating, and opens the door to creative new PR approaches. There’s nothing like staying fresh!
You may have noticed that these five observations have something in common: At their core, they’re all about people. So, you see, working with dev companies isn’t just about promoting niche products, it’s about understanding the aspirations of people who love what they do and are trying to change the world.
Consider that next time you think software development isn’t sexy!